Street to stage

Street  to stage

Dilli Ka Bioscope brings together 35 folk community artists who were mentored by Pt Birju Maharaj, says Saimi Sattar

When was the last time that you saw a street performance? In a day and age when the worldwide web is gradually erasing all other forms of entertainment, there is a brave new attempt at reviving street performing arts with Dilli Ka Bioscope. Kathak’s grand maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj has developed a concept featuring 35 folk and street performers, which is being staged today.

The narrative brings the art of folk community performers together and makes it seem that one is going through a bazaar of Delhi. The performance, which has been organised by Tama Show, is a project under Centre for New Perspectives, a think-tank which consists of Shailaja Kathuria, director, and Navina Jafa, vice president. Says Jafa, “We conducted a survey and identified 5,500 families from different parts of India — Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. These people have different community-performing skills which have been disconnected from the mainstream space.”

The attempt, says Jafa, is two-fold —  to tie it up with Mission Skill India and to make Delhi a creative city. She intends a school to develop these skills. “We hope that the Tama Show grows into a company which will organise the production while there will be a school to develop these skills,” says Jafa. The National Skill Development Corporation has supported this attempt. It will be made a part of the Skill Development manifesto which will include sharpening your crafts, health, skills, performative arts and so on. 

The Tama Show aims to develop 10 skills which include magic, jugglery, acrobatics, folk dances, folk music, mime, animal-training, puppetry and story-telling. “This will not be dependent on grants but we will be helping in training and production. There will be crowd-funding as well to involve the citizens of Delhi. We have decided that 71 per cent of the profits will go to the school,” says Jafa.

With the production as well as the crowd-funding, the idea is to make the citizens involved and develop their sense of ownership of their heritage. “This will help conserve the living heritage as opposed to the architectural heritage which is more in focus,” says Jafa.

The staging of the event, she insists, is not an event but a process. The representatives of the traders’ association of Shajahanabad, schools, doctors, lawyers and universities, all of whom are working on sustainability, have been invited for the staging of Dilli ka Bioscope.

Jafa is also trying to get a busking — the formalising of a street performance policy for performers — and has written to the Lieutenant Governor, Delhi Police, Delhi government and Delhi Municipal Corporations for the same.



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